SERENGETI District Council has finally given the green light to Grumeti Reserves’ much awaited investment plan in a 137-hectare piece of land at Park Nyigoti village, in Mara Region.
The approval was given during the district council’s full meting comprising all councilors, head of departments and other government officials on Wednesday.
“Good news is that the Grumeti Reserves investment will also inspire conservation of wildlife and environment in our village,” Serengeti District Council chairman, Mr Ayub Mwita Makuruma said, when he was about to wind up the council’s latest full council meeting.
The district council lawyer, Adv Veronica Lukanda said all legal procedures have been followed from the village level to the district council before the decision was made.
She told a full packed council meeting that the team from the district council which visited Park Nyigoti village last month was satisfied that the area was suitable for the planned investment.
“After we were satisfied that the area is not earmarked for livestock grazing but for farming, the majority of the citizens preferred to choose investment,” the district council’s lawyer said.
According to the council’s lawyer however, the investor is not allowed to conduct any other business in the area apart from conservation activities.
The local villagers at Park Nyigoti village welcomed the approval of the investment, describing it as a great deal of generosity that will not only develop conservation activities but also help speed up local development through revenue that the village will be collecting from the investor.
“We are indeed excited that this investment has finally been approved by our district council and that we are going to sign a contract with Grumeti Reserves in the next few days,” the chairman of Park Nyigoti village, Mr Mtiro Kitigani said yesterday in a telephone interview from the rural village, bordering the great Serengeti ecosystem.
After signing of the contract, the village is expected to earn some income annually that will help boost social development in the local area where poaching was seen as a major source of income in the past.
“We will use the money to build a community secondary school as soon as possible for our children to get quality education,” the local leader said.
Grumeti Reserves is an eco-tourism company which supports conservation and community development in the Serengeti ecosystem and has created hundreds of jobs for local people, both men and women.
The company is owned by an American investor and runs several world class luxurious lodges in Western Serengeti.
A few months ago, Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Dr Pindi Chana commended the US investor for the heavy investment fostering tourism, conservation and community development in Western Serengeti.
Two safari lodges owned and managed by Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania were rated high, and placed on the list of ten best hotels on the African continent in April this year.
In its report, The Wealth Africa named the safari lodges as Sabora Tented Camp and River Mara Tented Camp.
The minister was also pleased with the company’s continued support in conservation and local development through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.